As the resident, or perhaps former, I find myself writing a bit of everything these days, sportswriter at the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press, I felt it only right that the championships of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers are chronicled in some form in the annals of our historical archives.
As I have made it clear over the years, I am not a Los Angeles homer, not even a Los Angeles fan, but this year it was hard not to be. Both the Lakers and the Dodgers rode incredible storylines to their respective titles and injected distraught and defeated fans with a much-needed dose of hope and enthusiasm.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first World Series in 32 years but will still had to wait in line to have their parade till after the Lakers brought home the franchise’s 17th NBA Championship on Oct. 11. With 17 NBA Championships, the Lakers are officially tied with the Boston Celtics for the most titles in a single organization.
Each of the two champions finished their seasons in a bubble, went six games, and hinged on critical errors that pushed the series to more games than perhaps were needed. Danny Green missed a wide-open 3-point shot as time expired in Game 4 of the NBA Finals that gave the Miami Heat life while almost the entire Dodgers’ defense melted at the end of Game 6 in the World Series when they allowed Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena to score after falling to the ground between third and home.
This is the first time both the Lakers and the Dodgers have won titles in the same year since the Dodgers won their last championship in 1988. For reference, that Dodger team sported one Mike Scioscia as the opening-day catcher. Yes, that Scioscia that managed the Angels. Simultaneously, the Lakers were winning titles with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, so it’s been a while.
Your city or your state claiming two of the major three professional sports championships in a single year alone is cause for hope.
For the Lakers, this was the first full season with a healthy LeBron James, and he continues to defy nature’s laws as he rewrites the postseason stat books. Making the playoffs in 14 of his 17 professional seasons, James is already the postseason’s all-time scorer. This means that he set a record in every playoff game this season.
Paired with Anthony Davis, the Lakers looked nearly unstoppable as they erased the memory of Portland and Denver’s magical bubble runs by breaking them over their knee. We are getting to the point where, realistically, six titles for James doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. He is already the best player of all time from a statistical background, but how interesting would his legacy be if he ends with three titles with the Lakers after years of mercenary-like business plans. It would also appear the Lakers can improve their flawed roster this offseason. Waiting to sign Kawhi Leonard handicapped the front office. A full offseason of LeBron recruiting with Klutch sports behind him could bring in another star.
The Dodgers have been the perennial favorite in the MLB for the last three or four years but have been continually cast aside as a bridesmaid. While this season will unquestionably come with an asterisk, what can’t be questioned was their dominance. LA finished the regular season 43-17 with an astounding plus 136 runs differential. The next closest team was 52 runs behind the Dodgers.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers didn’t get their revenge on the cheating Houston Astros but get the last laugh in the end with the trophy hoisted above their heads.
Clayton Kershaw was finally able to look competent in the postseason, and Manager Dave Roberts appeared to learn from his mistakes in years past (and that he made early in the postseason) not leaving his older expiring ace to run on fumes while he has sports cars ready in the garage.
As someone who isn’t a fan of either team personally, this year was great to see those around me filled with so much joy. The blissful, childlike joy that can erupt out of a 60- or 70-year-old man when his team wins something is one of the purest things, and I hope many of you reading this got to experience that with your dad, mom, grandfather, uncle or whoever made you a fan.
We all needed some distraction from 2020, and Los Angeles sports provided it in a major way as the City of Angels is once again Titletown.